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Chile and Argentina celebrate 25 years of peace treaty with Benedict XVI

Thursday, November 26th 2009 - 13:43 UTC
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Michelle Bachelet and Mrs. Kirchner will be heading their countries delegations Michelle Bachelet and Mrs. Kirchner will be heading their countries delegations

Pope Benedict XVI will receive Saturday in the Vatican the presidents from Argentina and Chile to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the peace treaty which avoided a full fledged war between the neighbouring countries over the Beagle channel and three mostly uninhabited islands in the extreme south of Tierra del Fuego.

Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Chile’s Michelle Bachelet will meet the Pope at the Apostolic Palace with full honours, considered “a rare and symbolic gesture from the Vatican”.

According to the strict protocol the Pope will receive each of the presidents separately in a private audience while the other meets with the Holy See Secretary of State Tarciso Bertone.

Following the round of talks the two presidents will gather at the Clementine Hall where the main ceremony recalling events of 25 years ago will be commemorated with the participation of the Pope, the two countries delegations as well as special guests and ecclesiasts.

The event recalls the 1984 Peace and Friendship Treaty signed by Argentina and Chile under the mediation of the Vatican which put an end to all border disputes regarding insular territories in Tierra del Fuego.

Last October Benedict XVI sent a message to the Argentine church underlining the “example” of the successful mediation at the time led by then Pope John Paul II and involving Argentina and Chile.

“Events of thirty years ago when the mediation begun are indissolubly linked to the beloved figure of Pope John Paul II”, said Benedict who also acknowledged the mediation work of cardinals Antonio Samoré and Agostino Cassaroli.

Negotiations for the peace treaty begun in January 1979 in Montevideo, Uruguay following a last moment appeal from Pope John Paul II to both leaders of the time (military dictators Jorge Videla and Augusto Pinochet) to stop the imminent war programmed to begin in December 1978. The conflict was over the disputed Beagle channel and three small islands which signal Atlantic and Pacific oceans jurisdictions.

The dispute dated back to Spanish colonial times and the British Crown had previously mediated unsuccessfully.

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  • miguel

    Hello! There is only one thing I'd like to say, it feels so nice to be in peace with your neighbours, we have not had any kind of trouble with Argentina any more, lots of people can come freely and go freely there too, there are so many things we can learn from each other, somehow i admire those two ladies for ruling these countries.

    Nov 27th, 2009 - 03:35 am 0
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